MS Word import - Left margin hidden

Scrivener for Windows
MS Word 2013 (Office 365)

I am trying to import a manuscript from MS Word 2013 into Scrivener for Windows. If I import the file as a .doc, .docx, or .rtf, the file always imports into Scrivener with the left margin set so far to the left that part of the document is hidden down the left side. With the ruler displaying, the left margin marker that you drag along the ruler to set the margin is missing - completely out of site. The tab marker sometimes shows and the right side marker always shows, but never the left.

I can copy and paste sections into Scrivener and if I say to match style, the margins will be right. If I import as a .txt file, the margins come in right, but the document comes in single spaced with a sans-serif font.

It’s strange, but I can open the file in MS Word, save it as a text file, then open that text file in Wordpad and save it as an .rtf file with formatting. That Wordpad file will open properly in Scrivener. But why not directly from Word? I have tried and tried to figure out the screwed up left margin issue, but have had no luck. I have tried searching these forums and Google and have found nothing to help me solve the problem.

Thanks for any help you can give.

In the Mac version of Scrivener, we can use Documents > Convert > Convert Formatting to Default Text Style.

Same option in Windows? Resolves the issue with the margin?

I was not aware of that option. Tried it by selecting the text and applying the conversion setting. Nothing happened. Tried it without selecting the text and applying the conversion setting. Nothing there either.

The issue must be something else going on, perhaps a hiccup with Word 2013?

Sorry to hear it didn’t work.

I’m not a Windows or Word user…was just trying to help. Hope someone with more knowledge will have a solution for you.

Today I tried again, this time importing a different and considerably longer manuscript from Word 2013. The import worked perfectly. That causes me to think that the other file that I could not import properly must have had some sort of corruption in it. As I said in my original post, I finally managed to import it after doing a long-winded work-around.

Was the original file a .doc or a .docx?

One thing I’ve been seeing more of in Word 2013, where we’re now 3 major revisions past the switch away from the old hot mess .doc format, is that it’s starting to get a bit less flexible about gracefully handling the older .doc “compatibility mode” documents.

However, if in Word you can take that document, and re-save it as a .docx or .rtf to a brand new file, I find that often helps fix the corruption. I know you’ve gotten the content entered already, but food for thought if you come across the problem again.

(I’m also super-aggressive about re-saving any .doc document I get as .docx before I ever start editing it. Yes, there will be some minor format changes, but the stability and disk usage of the newer format is worth it, and I find doing so cuts down on a LOT of those old Word gremlins that haunt and corrupt documents.)

I was having problems similar to those mentioned above–but it got worse.

I couldn’t seem to bring in a .docx file which had started life as a .doc file into my new project (set up with the fiction template) without having the left-most character of each line disappear off the left-hand edge of the screen. I tried different solutions, and now the other scenes in the chapter folder in Scrivener into which I was trying to import the file have become a MESS–some sections disappearing off the left-hand edge, some sections in a small font, some sections in a large font.

History of what I did:

Tried to import .docx – margin issue. Deleted file from Scrivener.
In Word, saved file as .rtf
Tried to import .rtf – margin issue. Deleted file from Scrivener.
In Word, saved file as .docx again, and this time got the “you are saving to one of the newer formats” dialogue box–good!
Tried to import .docx – margin issue. Deleted file from Scrivener.
Copied all text in the file. Created a new Word file. Copied in text. Saved as .docx
Tried to import .docx – margin issue. Deleted file from Scrivener. Realized at this step (or possibly previous step) that the other files in the same folder within my MS in Scrivener were being affected, but found that once I deleted the offending, newly imported file, the other files in the chapter went back to normal.
Realized my previous move (pasting into Word) was stupid, that I should have just have just pasted into a Scrivener.
Created a new file under/in the correct chapter inside Scrivener. Pasted in the text of the old .docx file.
Found that the other text in chapter had been corrupted. Deleted newly-imported file. Old material remained and remains corrupted.

I set aside time this holiday weekend to set up my work-in-progress in Scrivener, thereby imposing order, and write. So far I’ve spent all the time trying to get to grips with Scrivener and import the material, I’ve done no writing, the stuff I had imported successfully has become a mess, and I’m just about at the point of tears. I was okay until previously healthy text became seemingly permanently disfigured. Can I trust the system or not?

Can someone help me out, please?


No, the existing file is not corrupted–my mistake, for which I apologize!

But I still haven’t managed to import the file successfully, even by–this is the end result of all of my attempts–saving as .rtf, then as .docx, then copying all contents, then pasting that into a new Scrivener file. Left edge remains off the edge of the screen.

Frustration level back down to Stymied (from Panicked).


Frustration rate reduced from Stymied to Ordinary Novice Still Learning (ONSL).

The problem was that my margins had gotten screwed up. How that happened is a mystery, but it’s fixed, and I can get moving again.

It would be an idea for Scrivener to shift a file in which the first character or so of every line does not display so that the characters do display. Is that asking for the moon? It seems do-able from here, but what do I know?

Thank you to anybody who read these last messages, and apologies for listing a non-issue.